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SpaceX’s used Falcon Heavy booster shown off in stunning detail [Gallery]

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Less than two weeks after SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy performed a simultaneous first-stage landing, the Elon Musk-led space company has completed the process of recovering the massive rocket’s two side boosters, both of which can now lay claim to supporting two separate orbital missions. However, while fascinating in its own right, more interesting is the fact that SpaceX has chosen to very publicly display one of those two boosters front and center at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center (KSCVC).

It is likely no coincidence that the National Space Council is scheduled to have their second-ever meeting at Kennedy Space Center this Wednesday. One can readily imagine that SpaceX’s vast, sooty, flight-proven Falcon rockets can be quite an imposing and impressive sight, and it appears that the launch company is hoping to thoroughly impress the Space Council on Wednesday.

 

Regardless of odd and interesting jockeying, the Falcon Heavy booster display is an absolutely unprecedented opportunity in SpaceX history, and Teslarati’s East coast photographer Tom Cross jumped on it. This rocket display is easily the first time the general public has ever been allowed to get so close to fresh rocket hardware, let alone the entire booster of a brand new launch vehicle. Tom has captured some extraordinarily detailed photos of various flight-proven rocket hardware, ranging from titanium grid fins to Merlin engines and even more esoteric parts, like landing leg connecting points.

Titanium grid fins

Appearing nearly unscathed after exposure to reentry temperatures that are often less kind to aluminum, SpaceX’s second flight-test of titanium grid fins has been a resounding success. It’s been hinted by CEO Elon Musk that these massive pieces of cast metal are probably the most expensive individual components on a Falcon 9, and they certainly look every bit the part. Check out these pieces of metalworking art in the best detail yet.

One of Falcon Heavy’s titanium grid fins, viewed from the top of the booster. (Tom Cross/Teslarati)

Falcon rockets are constructed largely of aluminum and painted with compounds that are designed to burn off under the heat of reentry, known as ablation. (Tom Cross/Teslarati)

 

Merlin engines and octaweb details

Taking the brunt of the force and heat of reentry, Falcon Heavy booster 1025’s business end is a powerful display of the intense environment SpaceX’s rockets must survive in order to successfully find their way to land (or sea). Around each Merlin engine is an insulating ceramic fiber blanket intended to protect the more sensitive components of rocket plumbing from the intense heat and buffeting experienced by the engine bells. The octaweb and engine area is also lined with a fair amount of cork – yes, the same material you cork a wine bottle with – designed to sap up the heat of reentry and often ablate. This simple material has worked incredibly well for the rocket company, although it is considerably less than reusable, and likely has to be replaced each launch. Falcon 9 Block 5, expected to begin integrated testing in Texas just days from now, will likely switch to a more reusable material for its octaweb heat shield.

Falcon Heavy booster 1025’s well-worn octaweb. The Merlin engines are underneath their blue cozies. (Tom Cross/Teslarati)

A beautiful capture of one of the booster’s nine Merlin engines, showing off the pipe used to cool the engine bell, as well as the ceramic blanket that protects its more sensitive plumbing. (Tom Cross/Teslarati)

 

Ultimately, this Falcon Heavy booster display is an incredible show of force to the National Space Council, as well as an extraordinary opportunity and inspiration for KSC visitors. Teslarati photographer Tom Cross has given us one of the most detailed looks yet at a complete SpaceX rocket, not to mention such a historic and flight-proven specimen.

The National Space Council meets early tomorrow morning (10:00 am EST, Feb. 21), and will be live-streamed here. SpaceX’s very own President and COO Gwynne Shotwell is expected to be in attendance, and will likely present a brief statement to the council.

Be sure to follow Teslarati’s space team for exclusive backstage access to SpaceX, coast-to-coast:

 

The post SpaceX’s used Falcon Heavy booster shown off in stunning detail [Gallery] appeared first on TESLARATI.com.

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glenn
4 days ago
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Waterloo, Canada
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Gratitude Comes From Noticing Your Life, Not From Thinking About It

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Post image for Gratitude Comes From Noticing Your Life, Not From Thinking About It

Every gratitude exercise I’ve ever done asks you to think about what you have to be grateful for. In other words, you brainstorm reasons you ought to feel grateful, whether or not you do.

You’ve probably done one of these before: writing five things you’re grateful for every night, recalling past good luck during difficult moments, or trying to remember, as often as possible, your privileges and advantages in life.

These exercises might be worthwhile on some level, but most of the time they don’t create much of a real-time, felt sense of gratitude. They just remind you of certain encouraging rote facts: on paper, your situation is pretty good; many parts of your life would be enviable to others; things could be worse.

As you might have noticed, simply making the case to ourselves that we have reasons to feel grateful doesn’t necessarily make us feel grateful.

Gratitude, when we do genuinely feel it, arises from experiences we are currently having, not from evaluating our lives in our heads. When you feel lonely, for example, simply remembering that you have friends is a dull, nominal comfort compared to how wonderful it feels when one of those friends calls you out of the blue. Reflecting on the good fortune of having a fixed address is nice, but stepping inside your front door after a cold and rainy walk home is sublime. 

The experience, not the idea, is what matters. So if you want to feel grateful, forget the thinking exercises. Look for your good fortune not in some abstract assessment of your life situation, but in your experience right in this moment. What can you see, feel, hear, or sense, right here in the present, that’s helpful, pleasant, or beautiful?

There’s always something, any time you look. Any interesting sensory experience or pleasant feeling will do: the warmth of a space heater, the cat on your lap, the play of sunlight on the table.

That’s the other important part: we don’t need to reserve our gratitude for the big, lifetime-scale conditions, such as health, economic class, or loved ones. In every moment, regardless of your problems, your experience is being improved and beautified by all sorts of small, often haphazard pleasures: the color of the sky, the embrace of this sweater, the protective shelter of this building, the peacefulness of this neighborhood, the taste of this coffee, the softness of this chair, the chirping of these birds, the alertness of your mind right now.

Of course, all the abstract, big-picture life conditions have their own corresponding present-moment pleasures, and they are what matter. Consider the world of difference between trying to appreciate the notion that you aren’t homeless, and appreciating the real-time experience of getting into bed in your own bedroom. That’s where your good fortune truly resides—in your experiences, not your thoughts.

Cultivating gratitude this way creates a completely different relationship to the good in your life than simply revisiting in your mind the logical reasons you ought to feel grateful. You’ll appreciate so much more of every day, even bad days, when you look for the small pleasures of present moment experience instead.

As I pour my coffee, steam billows out into the sunlight, creating a luminous, three-dimensional plume that would please anybody, as long as they were paying attention. When we seek our gratitude only by thinking and remembering, something as obscure as the beauty of sunlight passing through steam would never occur to us.

This sort of spontaneous gratitude is a natural side-effect of any mindfulness practice, because of the emphasis on noticing present-moment experience, but it’s well worth practicing on its own. It’s so simple. At any moment, you can ask yourself: what is happening here and now that’s pleasant, beautiful or helpful? Don’t just identify it—find the experience itself, the actual sight, sound or feeling, and enjoy it.

For me, at this moment, it’s wonderful that I have this warm drink. This hoodie feels great on my shoulders. This laptop is so quick; it doesn’t lag like the old one. The sky is pale and picturesque. My houseplants are doing well. This chair is comfortable. My neighbor is singing downstairs. I’m enjoying all of these details despite every unresolved big-picture problem I have.

My list of tiny pleasures might not sound so thrilling to you, and that’s fine. Again, it doesn’t matter how it feels to think about it. This practice creates many private experiences of gratitude you couldn’t easily explain to another person. I love the little triangle of sun in the corner of the table, how it’s almost equilateral by chance. I love the youthful green stem of my geranium, and its fuzz of infinitesimal white hairs. The pleasure of these sights is already mine; I don’t need to convince myself that they constitute a good reason to be grateful, and certainly no one else needs to understand.

Those pleasant little details may be small, but they’re not insignificant. They contribute to your well-being, and well-being is all that matters ultimately. Every moment contains so many pleasant, helpful or beautiful details, most of which we didn’t earn, aren’t entitled to, and may not be there next time we look. The shine of this bank’s polished floor. The solidity of this vehicle. The way the last of the water disappears down the sink.

Then, when you bring this same grateful awareness to the truly consequential conditions of your life—this steaming dinner in front of you, the warmth and safety of this kitchen, the presence of your loved ones around this very table, right in this moment—the heart overflows with thankfulness.

***
This post is adapted from one of the daily lessons in Camp Calm, a straightforward mindfulness course we hold a few times a year. We’re starting again soon. Join us this time! [More info]

Photo by Manu Franco

 

Do you meditate? Do you want to?

In Camp Calm the idea is to develop a modest but consistent meditation practice, and a few mindful living habits, at a gentle pace of about ten minutes a day. No experience necessary, and it can fit virtually any schedule.

Registration is opening soon. Get on the mailing list to be notified of dates and details.

[More info]

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glenn
6 days ago
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Waterloo, Canada
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Love poems

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glenn
11 days ago
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Waterloo, Canada
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*I never heard of this guy before, but he’s got millionaire...

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*I never heard of this guy before, but he’s got millionaire YouTube Star written all over him. Look at those Doc Martens he’s wearing.

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glenn
11 days ago
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Without further ado, let's flick the Collective Awakening Switch
Waterloo, Canada
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Video

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glenn
12 days ago
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ok seriously, are they *trying* to make these things look super creepy?
Waterloo, Canada
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A ‘Walden’ for the YouTube Age

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Marissa Grunes, The Paris Review:

Primitive Technology was created two years ago by a man in Queensland, Australia, who builds huts, weapons, and tools using only naturally occurring materials. In all of his five- to ten-minute videos, the man wears only navy blue shorts, rarely looks at the camera, and never speaks.

It’s a niche concept, to be sure. The channel does not focus on historically accurate building techniques. It does not offer explanatory tutorials. It will not even help you survive in the wilderness: the “fire sticks” with which he ignites tinder require at least twenty-four hours to prepare and look fiendishly hard to use. So why have the videos attracted millions of viewers? And what do viewers like myself seek when we watch the channel on loop? What do we get from it?

One answer is often floated. Amid the online flood of glossy DIY demonstrations, the paranoiac alarums of super-wealthy “preppers” (people preparing for an apocalyptic event), and the cynical commentary of survivalists, Primitive Technology offers something different: quiet. A few minutes of the channel can make you feel as though you are out in the Australian forest, breathing the sun-steeped, eucalyptus-tinged air, washed clean by rain. The slow precision with which the man undertakes each step of his projects—from finding materials to shaping his tools to assembling his finished structures—lends the videos a soothing sense of purpose. On the Internet, where lunacy sometimes seems to prevail, these videos bring a kind of meditative calm.

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glenn
12 days ago
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Quite relaxing and interesting to watch! No link in article... here's one of the videos on making a clay furnace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVV4xeWBIxE
Waterloo, Canada
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